Category Archives: Cities

Why I Gave to Devington Community Hub and Bus Shelter via Power2Give

The story, as it has been shared with me, starts here:

Devington Shopping Center

This is Devington Shopping Center, located at Arlington Avenue and Staughton Drive (near 46th Street). The colorful mural here was painted by Arlington Students several years ago. Stop by and take a closer look sometime. But for this case, notice the color. It’s liveliness as seen here from the street. Arlington High School is the building  just north of here. A year ago, from this viewpoint, if you turned around, you’d see an abandoned housing community. Once vibrant in the 50’s and 60’s. The neighborhood can tell you more about that time when you stop by in person.

FD_Community_3Through community outreach, Devington discovered they were in need of a Senior Housing Community as a plan of action for this site. So the story continues…First Devington, plans to open this Summer 2013.

First Devington

The Community and the Seniors moving into this building were engaged in the design process. They even voted on the color of the building. They wanted bright colors that celebrated their neighborhood, their lives, something that pulls them outside to join their community.

The viewpoint in the images above, looking at First Devington and the Devington Shopping Plaza comes from the IndyGo Bus Stop at that intersection.

devington before photograph

From all of this community engagement, a question came about, “How do we transform the way residents feel about taking the bus?” What if we celebrated it. Continued to engage the community and add some color. Get more people involved not only within the community, but invite organizations outside of the community in to be a part of this. A dialogue started about what could happen here. Personal interviews with those at the stop and throughout the community. Devington learned even more about itself and residents continued to get to know one another.

DevingtonBusStopThey applied for the Keep Indianapolis Beautiful Greenspace grant, and won. IndyGo is helping out, they are getting a new shelter. They now have funding to support the visions of the site including adding salvaged and repurposed Bush Stadium Seats and RCA Dome fabric from People for Urban Progress. Plants and trees will be incorporated into the site. The KIB Greenspace Grant is just one funding partner of many more traditional, the City of Indianapolis, the Senior Housing Site Developer, Indianapolis Power and Light to name a few.

When the First Devington development began, w/purpose noticed old pavers on site and saw an opportunity to salvage and think about repurposing them at the bus stop. They are heavy. They took them to Arlington High School. Invited the new Art Teacher to be a part of this project. The students wanted to keep these vibrant colors that just seem fitting to be in eyeshot of the mural and the new First Devington project. The students painted these blocks and it didn’t stop there. They were engaged further and asked “What can you imagine at this bus stop?” The students had really creative ideas. We want to engage our youth, before they grow old and lose that creativity, imagining turning the seemingly impossible… possible. They had ideas like, what if you were sitting in the shelter and it was like you were in a fish bowl. Or what if the sides of the shelter had messages for the bus riders and the community etched into the glass. That is the direction that Devington wants to take. They are on Power2Give to fundraise, turning a seemingly impossible idea… possible.

installed (640x478)

Progress Report: They are well on their way to install these pavers. New concrete has been poured. They should have the PUPstop seats in soon. The shade structure is being developed. They can still use your help, to turn the students vision into reality. Please consider donating what you can, to Devington Community Hub and Bus Stop on Power2Give.

There are so many positive community building stories coming out of this Devington Bus Stop project that I didn’t even include in this post. I am grateful to be playing a small part. Come join us and be a part of this.



An Idea for Indianapolis Public Schools

1) What if a child didn’t have to worry about what they were wearing to school. Does my uniform fit? Is it clean? I am reminded back at the beginning of this 2011-12 school year when IPS was in the news looking for 7,000 students who still hadn’t shown up. Some parents were interviewed talking about their kids not having uniforms yet to go. During that same week, it was announced that Ray Skillman made a 5-year commitment to cover Center Grove High School’s sports programs so no one had to pay extra to play sports. That is $200K a year for the next 5 years. The first thing that came to mind was, who wants to sponsor our kids? Perhaps in offering them a school uniform at the beginning of each school year so they wouldn’t have to worry, does my uniform fit? Is it clean? Some of the schools are offering a uniform exchange opportunity for growing kids to get a uniform their new size. But, isn’t there something about the way you feel in a brand new outfit, just for you?

Would you buy/wear a T-shirt that read, “Chick-fil-A gives a damn about our inner city kids”? A joint partnership between and fast food company and the citizens of the community. Would you be proud to wear it? I figure many of us have T-shirts. So maybe not only seek a direct financial contribution, but what if we as a city offered our own, local element to TOMS, one for one movement? Or I am reminded of FIGS in which you buy a men’s tie and your purchase includes buying a school uniform for a child in Eastern Africa. What if we had some of the IPS kids in Career Technology Magnet Fashion Merchandising class design a product unique to, well us? Would you buy it and wear it with pride knowing your money went to purchasing a child a uniform?

2) There are kids in our community whose parents don’t know how to use a computer, who can’t read English or even maybe cannot read at all. This is a realistic learning obstacle in our kids life. There are children that are showing up for tutoring help, seeking help with reading that are getting turned away because there aren’t enough volunteers. What if the great Young Professionals groups of Indianapolis made a commitment in early education, volunteering to serve our inner city kids?  There are 33K students.  Am I being to ambitious or unrealistic in putting out there the idea of 33K volunteers who can commit 30 min to an hour a week with a student?

Wow, could you imagine the impact?

3) Finally, what if there was a targeted incentive to bring young people in the same stage of life and encourage them to live downtown. Raise a family downtown. Most of the employees in downtown Indianapolis commute from the suburbs to work. What if there was an incentive in place to encourage employees to live downtown. Or maybe target specific companies, like ExactTarget. When this young staff gets married, decides to have children. Do you think they would come together as a team and enroll their children in IPS? Knowing they are not alone?

Las Vegas gets a $350 million investment. Indianapolis gets a Super Bowl.

Richard Karlgaard, Columnist and Publisher of Forbes Magazine was in Indianapolis in 2010 for the city’s Race to the Summit event (powered by Develop Indy). One of the stories that he shared has stayed with me. He lives in Silicon Valley. He mentioned he was at a fundraiser or party of some sort with all of the heavy hitters and when the topic of either Email Marketing or Measured Marketing came up, it was said that Indianapolis is the home for that. Pretty amazing, right? Thank you Richard for sharing that.

I’m reminded of all of the notes I made during the conference. All of the ideas I had to get started. I had the opportunity to chat with some folks from Develop Indy following the event and I mentioned we should put together some action teams to put some of these ideas and inspirations to work. Now this conference is way behind us. What came out of it? What ideas flourished, what ideas simply died?

We are in a similar position with the Super Bowl now behind us. Indianapolis was in the spot light. I’m sure we hosted some great businesses trying to pitch them to move their operation here to Indy. Maybe even entertained some entrepreneurs to start new business ventures here in Indianapolis.

I’ve been following the Zappos move to Las Vegas. It was announced a few weeks ago that Tony Hseih plans to invest 350 million into the side of town they have chosen to move to make it a viable city. What other young companies are making these kind of investments in cities or simply their neighborhood?

For those of you who watched WFYI’s, “Naptown to Super City,” what stuck out to me was Eli Lilly and Simon’s commitment to community. Former Mayor Hudnut retells the story of Herb Simon stepping up and serving his city by way of financially backing the Indianapolis Pacers for the potential long-term gain. Again, he used the word, Service. (Mayor Hudnut’s Presentation for The Center on Philanthropy on January 20, 2012) Who is our future Eli Lilly? Are you already here in Indianapolis and looking to step up or are you someone looking at Indianapolis and excited to jump right in?

Are you apart of a young company doing some pretty amazing things here in Indy? Fill me in. How are you making your mark?

Attracting Talent vs. Attracting Jobs

In 2000, Indianapolis established a goal to double the number of downtown Indianapolis residence by 2020. How do you think we’re doing? I was referred a book that had some compelling points and if you are passionate about cities and economic development. This is a great quick read to add to your list: Live First,Work Second by Rebecca Ryan, printed in 2007. This book discusses how to reach and retain the next generation. When surveyed, “3 out of 4 Americans under the age of 28 said a cool city is more important than a good job.” What comes to mind when you read this statement? Ryan points out, then why is the measurement of economic development/stability based on ‘number of jobs’? Is it time to establish new measurement matrix? What would that look like?

My job in the coming years will not be to attract companies. 100 percent of my job will be to attract talent. — Janet Miller, Nashville Area Chamber

Our economic development goals should include increasing the incomes of all people in the region. Resulting in better education, better health, more sustainable economies and increase of environmental protection. (We have a project happening in Fountain Square to attempt at taking a stab at this very thing.) Should we be measuring the number of patents in the area? Did you know that according to the US Small Business Administration, 4 out of 5 new businesses are started by women, Gen X’ers and minorities?

This is the first time I was introduced to the idea that we are now in a knowledge based economy where knowledge workers create market value.

Knowledge is the new basis for wealth. In the future when capitalists talk about their wealth they will be talking about their control of knowledge. Exactly how one controls knowledge is in fact a central issue in a knowledge-based economy.
—Lester Thurow (1999)

What questions does Develop Indy get when a company is looking at Indianapolis as a city to bring their business to? They are getting more questions on livability. What does your city look like…online?

A city (or company for that matter) is three times more likely to retain young talent if they feel that their voices are being heard and valued. The more young talent are engaged in their community, the longer they plan to stay.

I would like to close with a story Ryan re-introduced. Atlanta, 1962: All of the cities leaders/investors/stakeholders/influencers were on a plane to Paris. The plane crashed and everyone died. Not only do we ask, will your city be able to continue to operate efficiently, but Ryan poses the question: Would Atlanta be what it is today, incredibly diverse, full of young energy, incredibly dense, livable if the group on the plane had survived? Is your city run by the PMS group (Pale, Male & Stale)? Is your city open to the new generation of do’ers that look to take on a role (or responsibility) in their neighborhood?

Oh the internets.

A girlfriend of mine sent a message out to a group of us inquiring as to what blogs/sites we follow on a regular basis. I found a lot of new greats. This could be a great topic to utilize Pinterest. It seemed based on viewing these blogs, the gals would make a great friend set to share cool things with one another.
I follow everything GOOD, I get the Daily GOOD, follow the GOOD Tumblr and can spend hours stumbling upon items on their website.
Chris Guillebeau, The Art of Non-Conformity
Aaron Renn, Urbanophile
Rider By My Side Tumblr
I have recently stumbled on Blanco Pop
Other than that I’m on TED
and reading President Jimmy Carter Trip Reports
Oh, I’m going to Guatemala in August…I’ve just started following this guy to prepare myself.
What blogs are you excited to recommend?

Farmer’s Market’s at Cracker Barrel

I may be behind the curve, but just learned that, at least in Tennessee, if not in other states now. Cracker Barrel’s have been selected as Electric Car Charger Spots because of their access to the interstates. The first thing that came to mind was wouldn’t it be amazing to have a Farmer’s Market stand or food truck at these locations as well? Ah, Hello Future.

Indianapolis: 40,000 downtown residents by 2020

I would like to propose we start at ExactTarget. Mr. Scott Dorsey, what can we do to encourage your employees to live closer to work, downtown Indianapolis?

Tony Hsieh, Zappos, Plan to Rebuild Downtown Vegas

We’re standing in the Downtown Cocktail Room, the epitome of a hipster San Francisco bar: hot young locals lounging on sofas, sipping cocktails with names like ‘Sniff Happens’ and ‘Persephone’s Pomme’; moody lighting; bathroom stalls with two-way mirrors so you can look out as you pee; half of the people in here work for an Internet company. You know the drill.

The only difference is, we’re not in San Francisco. We’re in Las Vegas. And all of these Internet people work for Zappos, the Internet shoe retailer that relocated here from San Francisco in 2004. Cont…

Washington, D.C. Offers $12,000 to People Who Move Near Work

Sure, in a perfect world, we’d all live near work. A short commute saves time and money and makes it easy to bike or walk to the office. But in the real world there are lots of factors affecting where we choose to live, and work is only one of them. Perhaps moving to be near your job would be more appealing if it came with $12,000 dollars. Cont…

Detroit’s Project 14

Detroit Police officers that do not live within the city limits now have more of an incentive to move back to the Motor City.

Mayor Dave Bing’s Project 14 program that offers incentives to police officers to get them to buy a home and move back to the city is expanding to include two more neighborhoods – North Rosedale Park and Green Acres.

“I think the reason that we wanted to expand into two other neighborhoods is because there weren’t enough homes in the first two neighborhoods. So we looked at homes into some other neighborhoods where they showed an interest and I think that’s going to be very positive,” says Bing. Project 14 already included East English Village and Boston-Edison areas. Cont…